5 Bands That Might Be Better Than Hole

5 Bands That Might Be Better Than Hole

Could any of these bands steal Courtney Love's crown? We explore potential contenders...

DISCLAIMER: Everything we do at Pop War is presented in the context of a battle between two artists or works of art. We even joke that 'art is not subjective.' We don't mean this literally. This is all just meant to be a unique lens we use in order to analyze music, and should never be used to assume we don't value both artists we compare and contrast.


For fans of Hole, it's an unfortunate reality that there are only four studio albums to explore. And, considering the band's lasting popularity and an ever-growing fanbase, it's no surprise if you're looking for bands that sound like Hole. It's difficult to find bands that capture angst and heartbreak, while being able to craft beautifully dark earworms quite like Courtney could in her prime - but we did our best to compile five bands that capture that same spirit.


1. Margaritas Podridas

This Mexico-based quartet somehow manages to pair the scuzzy and brash spirit of an album like Pretty On The Inside with the prettier elements of shoegaze and early post-punk/goth. I have a seriously hard time accurately describing the genre-hopping borderline genius that is Margaritas Podridas, but there's a strong connection here to what Hole was doing early on in their career. That connection is especially prominent in their latest single, Coraźon de Muñeca.



2. Mannequin Pussy

Quite possibly the most well-known band on this list, Philadelphia's Mannequin Pussy is still far from the household name they should be by now...but perhaps the band name itself is at fault. Regardless of how cringe it may feel to publicly name drop this band, they're worth some serious time spent in your ears. They do all the same things Hole did, musically, while not actually sounding much like them. They're on this list because of their ability - like Hole - to package pissed off punk rock, pristine and introspective pop gems, and straight up rock anthems into something palatable, socially aware, and genuinely listenable. Can you honestly say "Drunk II" doesn't remind you - at least a little - of "Malibu?"


3. L.A. Witch

The storm cloud grandeur of the standout tracks from Hole's Live Through This cast big shadows on the dusty-psych of L.A. Witch. Their 2020 album, Play With Fire, sounds like a what-if scenario in which Love binged Cramps and 13th Floor Elevators before holing up in a desert shack to write a very different third record than what actually became Celebrity Skin. It might be somewhat of a stretch for some to hear, but the two groups definitely share some DNA.


4. Scowl

It would be silly to overlook the other aspects of a band as varied as Hole, but for some, the angst might've been the defining characteristic that set them apart from so many other alternative rock bands of the same era. With that in mind, we offer up the hardcore punk of Scowl. If it's the pure rage and disgust Courtney often belted out in her early days, look no further than the steering wheel pounding, car scream alongs of this genre-defying Cali quintet.


5. Pretty Sick

Sabrina Fuentes started Pretty Sick at the age of 13, and has since built up an impressive catalog of albums, EPs, and singles. Rooted in angsty and moody 90's rock, Sab stands out from her contemporaries that choose to bury themselves in a grunge revival landfill, by having an ability to escape the confines of genre. At times, Pretty Sick is more Exile In Guyville than Live Through This, but the brutal honesty and sad sweetness that shines throughout is what landed them here.



Bonus: Blondshell

If you're here for thoughtful lyrics and big, dramatic indie rock with a voice that's equally commanding and vulnerable, do yourself a huge favor and go listen to Blondshell's self-titled album in it's entirety as soon as you possibly can. It's harder to articulate what brought this to our list, but I predict a sizeable portion of you that are reading this will be into it.


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